No fan of the Royal Oak can forget last year’s 50th-anniversary celebrations, which also introduced some design tweaks on a selection of 34, 37, 38 and 41mm Selfwinding Royal Oak references. The party continues in 2023 as three smaller-sized white gold Royal Oaks get new blue smoked Grand Tapisserie dials and an infusion of light provided by the baguette-set diamonds on the bezel and dial. The recipients of this glamorous makeover by Audemars Piguet are 34mm and 37mm time-and-date RO Selfwinding models and a 38mm version of the RO Selfwinding Chronograph.
The design upgrade practised on several Royal Oak Selfwinding models in 2022 enhanced the play of light thanks to the enlarged polished bevels on the top and bottom of the case and heightened the contrast with the satin-brushed hand finishings on other parts of the case. Another benefit of the facelift is the more slender silhouette of the watch, extending to the integrated bracelet, which now has trapezoid-shaped links closest to the case to produce a more elongated profile. Moreover, the links are thinner and lighter, adding to the overall comfort of the watch.
Royal Oak Selfwinding 34MM and 37mm
Catering to smaller wrist sizes, the Royal Oak introduced new 34 and 37mm case sizes. The 34mm size was introduced to the family in 2020, and the 37mm in 2012, coinciding with the Royal Oak’s 40th anniversary (there is an even smaller case size of 33mm, but it is fitted with a quartz movement).
Housed in luxurious 18k white gold cases that reflect the design upgrades of 2022, the new Royal Oak Selfwinding 34 and 37mm models have 32 baguette-cut diamonds set into the iconic octagonal bezel. As the brand points out, this diamond setting marks a first for the 34mm model. Arranged in groups of four to accommodate the eight mandatory hexagonal screws that are integral to the Royal Oak’s personality, the diamonds flood the polished bezel with even more light.
Moving towards the dial, there are a further 12 baguette-cut diamonds posing as hour markers (double diamonds at noon), set on top of the classic Grande Tapisserie guilloché dial that now features a blue smoked or gradient colour. Obtained by Physical Vapour Deposition, the gradient effect is achieved by spraying coloured varnish on the periphery while the dial rotates, creating a darker shade in the centre and a darker colour on the edges. Introduced last year, the new gold Audemars Piguet signature is the result of galvanic growth, and each letter is fixed to the dial by hand. To enhance legibility in low light conditions, the white gold hands are filled with luminescent coating. Like all the updated Royal Oak models, the date window is the same colour as the dial.
The 34mm Royal Oak Selfwinding is powered by automatic calibre 5800 with a frequency of 4Hz and a 50h power reserve; the 37mm model relies on automatic calibre 5900 with the same frequency but a slightly higher power reserve of 60 hours. Vaucher produces both calibres. The bridges are decorated with Côtes de Genève stripes, and the 22k pink gold rotor has sandblasted areas, satin finishings and polished chamfers.
Quick facts: Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm ref. 7451BC.ZZ.1261BC.01 / ref. 15551BC.ZZ.1356BC.01 in 37mm – 18k white gold case 34mm x 8.8mm and 37mm x 9.4mm – polished and brushed surfaces – 32 baguette-cut diamonds set in bezel – glare-proofed sapphire crystal front and back – 50m water-resistance – smoked blue dial with Grand Tapisserie pattern – 12 baguette-cut diamond hour markers – white gold Royal Oak hands with luminescence – tone-on-tone date window at 3 o’clock – automatic calibre 5800 (34mm) and calibre 5900 (37mm) by Vaucher – 4 Hz – 50h power reserve 34mm – 60h power reserve 37mm – 18k white gold bracelet with AP folding clasp – Price upon request (in excess of 100k)
Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph 38mm
This 38mm reference is the most compact Royal Oak Chronograph in production. With a reasonable height of 11mm, the 18k white gold case reflects the updates practised in 2022. However, unlike the larger 41mm reference, this model is not fitted with the new in-house chronograph calibre 4401 but relies on an integrated automatic column-wheel movement by Frederic Piguet.
Gleaming with the light of 32 baguette-cut diamonds on the bezel, the intense blue Grand Tapisserie dial features an attractive gradient effect. Contrasting white gold luminescent hands and baguette-cut diamond hour markers contribute to legibility. The three snailed counters are framed with white gold and feature white inscriptions.
Hidden by the solid white gold caseback is the automatic calibre 2385 with a frequency of 3Hz and a 40h power reserve.
Quick facts: Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph 38mm ref. 26715BC.ZZ.1356BC.01 – 38mm x 11mm – 18k white gold case, polished and brushed – 32 baguette-cut diamonds set in bezel – glare-proofed sapphire crystal front and back – 50m water-resistance – gradient blue dial with Grand Tapisserie pattern – baguette-cut diamond hour markers – white gold Royal Oak hands with luminescence – blue snailed counters – tone-on-tone date window at 4:30h – automatic integrated column-wheel chronograph calibre 2385 by Piguet – 3Hz – 40h power reserve – 18k white gold bracelet with AP folding clasp – Price upon request (in excess of 100k)
For more information, please visit audemarspiguet.com.